Mabel Lee


"Mabel Lee was a woman of boldness and vision. Committed to quality physical education and sports programs for girls, she was responsible for the creation of some of the first girls’ basketball teams in Iowa.”
—Dr. Patricia Geadelmann, 1994

Mabel Lee, a pioneer in Women's physical education, was born in Clearfield, Iowa in 1886. As a high school sophomore in Centerville, Iowa in 1902, she started girls’ basketball. After administrative jobs at Coe College, Oregon Agricultural College, and Beloit College, Lee served as director of physical education for women at the University of Nebraska for 28 years. She was the first woman president of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and the American Academy of Physical Education. During World War II, Lee served as a regional director of physical fitness under the Office of Civilian Defense, was a member of the physical fitness council of the Federal Security Agency, and was on the civilian advisory committee for the Women's Army Corps. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Lee was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1979.

UPDATE: Lee died on December 3, 1985.